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|Mon, 08-09-2010 - 6:48pm|
Not looking for help today. I just came by to read about other people's relationship problems to put my present experiences into perspective. My best friends are like family to me - we see them practically every day. We have meals together, travel together, and there is almost nothing we don't do for one another. But they are also dysfunctional, having between them alcoholism, a range of mental health disorders, bad debt, and marginal employment. The problems are not one-sided by a long shot, so I am equally sympathetic to each of them coping with their lives.
I am worried for their children. That was my first motivation for becoming involved in their problems. But I am also conscious of how their presence in our lives and the attention they draw from me might be affecting our children. I tell myself that I am modeling for my children how to be part of a genuinely committed, caring, accepting community. So many people around us have deep problems and are barely getting by. But the friends who have most closely attached to us have the most frustrating, systemic issues. Every few months, another crisis that leaves me emotionally drained. Always this fine line between helping them move mountains and overstepping their boundaries while my husband exerts pressure on me to pull back when it doesn't feel like the right thing to do.
I used to be involved in church life and other volunteer efforts, and be more focused on my career, but I have no time or energy for this anymore. In addition to my own family, personal relationships with friends are more than I can manage. Caring for the people in my life is always my highest priority. Comparatively in our social group, we are the ones who have it all together. I would really love to find some friends who are functionally better off than we are. Who don't *need* me. But then, the people I connect with are usually the ones who clearly *do* need a strong support system. I am cynical about anyone who doesn't.